MERRILLVILLE | Morgan Algozine was hardly tense before her vault attempts at Saturday's Duneland Athletic Conference gymnastics meet.
"High scores are all confidence," the Valparaiso senior said. "(When) all my teammates do well, I don't have as much pressure (on me) when I get there and I do what I normally do."
Algozine followed personal-bests by Caroline and Rushelle Miller and scored a meet-high score 9.9 on her layout Yurchenko, punctuating the state No. 4 Vikings' title defense.
Valparaiso defeated No. 1 Portage 113.5-111.725 at Merrillville.
The Vikings' third rotation, vault, was the difference in the meet. Rushelle Miller (half on double twist off) and Caroline Miller (pike Yurchenko) finished third and fourth with scores of 9.675 and 9.6, respectively.
"That was really great, it set us up on bars," said coach Lorie Cook, whose team scored a 29.175 on vault to increase their cushion. "That took some pressure off."
Algozine, who defended her all-around crown (38.4), led a 1-2 sweep on bars with a 9.75. Hannah Erwin, who was third in all-around (37.5), added a 9.525 in the final rotation.
Valpo totaled 57.65 on the final two rotations to pull away from Portage and avenge a DAC dual loss to the Indians earlier this season.
"We had to hit our routines, and we didn't (against Portage in the dual)," Algozine said. "This is our first big meet. We wanted to do our best and keep building to state."
Portage struggled at times, scoring only 26.1 on bars, but the Indians also finished strong. They totaled 28.75 on floor and 28.9 on vault to finish the meet with some confidence.
Mackenzie Barcell finished second in all-around (38.275), which included wins on floor (9.75) and beam (9.5). Danielle Solis was second on vault (9.825) and beam (9.475).
"We have some things to add on our bars routines for next week," said Portage coach Karen Barcelli, alluding to the Chesterton Sectional "Hopefully, we won't have the falls next time. (Saturday) was good practice for us.
"It would be nice to have a flawless meet."
State No. 6 Chesterton edged No. 7 Crown Point 107.55-105.225 for third place.
Brandi Tuzinski led the Trojans, finishing fourth in all-around (37.225) and third on beam (9.425).